BuzzKill is a PICO-8 game made by Morning Toast. It is an arcade-y type game where an infestation of hostile bees and hives has taken up residence at the top of the screen.
You play as a machine that will deal with this pest problem! Press Z and you shoot bullets, taking out those pesky bees. These buggers will just keep popping out of their hives though and the hives somehow multiply over time. To deal with the hives, you use X to puff out smoke upwards. Not only does the smoke slow down bees and blocks their shots, but any hives the smoke touches briefly becomes vulnerable to shots. Theoretically, you could spray the whole screen with smoke then go wild shooting at them, but this is kept in check by the game’s power system. A replenishing bar at the bottom of the screen decides how fast you’re able to shoot, with rapid fire shots coming out when it’s near full in the green and slowly shooting when the bar is low. Summoning up smoke happens to use up a bunch of power, which prevents you from just sort of cheesing the challenge.
You won’t be spending the whole game just fighting these small fry bees, either. Bigger bees get thrown into the mix, spawning from a hive that doesn’t need to be stunned, but takes multiple hits to destroy. These bees also need to be hit multiple times and in the meanwhile, they shoot off homing bullets that aren’t blocked by the smoke. You can blaze through the first two levels, but these tougher bees start showing up at the third level, throwing a wrench into things and kicking up the difficulty. Not quite bullet hell, but it’s certainly more than you’d expect from something that seems like Space Invaders on the surface.
BuzzKill’s graphics are vibrant and the music’s pretty nice. The game over music definitely helps soothe the pain of dying over and over. If you get through the 10-stage challenge mode, you can play through an endless mode, offering some replayability. Hit the link up there and give the game a go!